The land of Kashmir is with us but the people of Kashmir are not with us
I just returned from Jammu Kashmir. I was there for four days; hence I thought to make you aware of the real situation in Kashmir. As a matter of fact, getting the reply of letters by PMO is not in culture these days as per your colleagues, but even then I take a chance to write this letter to you, not wishing your reply to it, but with a hope that at least you will read it and find it factual and genuine then you will realize and give your thought towards the raised points of concern.
I am very much sure that the information and news that you receive about Kashmir is not clear and true as it is distorted by the government officials. The projected point of view of government officials is not the real situation of Kashmir. I am sure that if you would have a technique or way through which you would listen and communicate with Kashmiris directly then you would never have ignored them.
I am in a state of restlessness after returning from the Valley. No matter the land of Kashmir is with us and as in our army’s control but the people of Kashmir are not with us.
I want to introduce you by the fact that people have painful aggression in them against the Indian system; be it a man of 80 year old or a six-year-old child. This aggression and bitterness is to an extent of rejection of not even willing to talk to anybody who represents it. Their pain and aggression had taken such turn of extremism that they now stand with stones in hands and are ready to face such huge system; not bothering about the outcome. I believe this situation would lead us to the disastrous “massacre” situation.
I am writing my concern to you as “only you” and your genuine contribution can stop this foreseen tragedy, which could take place in Kashmir leaving a blemish of century’s biggest massacre in the history of the country.
A dangerous misconception is growing in the minds of the officials of our military troops and security forces that if anybody who raises the voice against the prevailing system in Kashmir he or she should be killed to suppress the separatists movement’, but it is an entirely wrong policy to peruse.
To my understanding, there is no such thing called as “Separatists’ Movement”. It is actually a revolution of every common man of Kashmir, where a man of 80 to a child of six raises the slogans of “Freedom and Azadi”. We should accept the fact that since last 70 years we were committing a serious and deliberate mistake which were always against the Kashmiri people.
The time has chosen you and has given you an opportunity to correct the past mistakes committed by us and balm the people of Kashmir, which they deserve. I am extremely hopeful that you will call for immediate, actual and true information of the current situation in Kashmir and take the necessary measures, guiding and deciding the next move of the government.
Modiji, this is to bring in your knowledge that right from the Kashmiri policemen, businessmen, student, the entire civil society, writers, journalists, politicians, artists, people from various organizations, government officials or anyone whether living in Kashmir or have come for the jobs or any purpose; not only think but also claim that there is a blunder that has been done to the Kashmiris and the system of Kashmir and therefore every single being in his or her even individual capacity stands against the “system” and raises his voice.
A Kashmiri who do not holds a stone in hand, keeps the stone in his heart. This revolution has taken a shape of mass-movement same as the movement of 1942 or JP Movement in which the contribution of public was more than the leaders.
Baqr Eid was not celebrated in Kashmir this time. Neither anyone wore new clothes. Not a single home celebrated Eid. Isn’t this move of Kashmiris a slap on the faces of the people who talk aloud and swear upon democracy? What must have happened that every single human from Valley expressed their anger by rejection to any celebration of any festivals, be it Eid-ul-Fitr or Baqr Eid, resulting into a “revolting” movement against the ruling government.
The people who voted in the election of 2014, today none of them is ready to utter a single word of sympathy in favour of the same government. I am strongly putting this before you because being the Prime Minister you should find out the ways to concrete and positive outcome.
Now, Kashmiris lit their nights by just lighting up one bulb in each home. They all say and believe that “There is much of pain and sorrow of deaths around in the air of Kashmir.” The Valley is bedewed in blood of Kashmiris as more than 10,000 Kashmiris are badly injured by pellet guns; more than 500 have lost their eyes forever. In such a gloomy atmosphere, “We don’t want to light up our homes with four bulbs, we don’t feel like and we don’t want to hurt each other by doing so. We will live by lighting up with only one bulb.”
I have witnessed it how people live on one bulb light. I have also witnessed how young boys pile up the stones on the roads and the same boys remove these heaps of stone in the evening at six.
During night they sleep with the doubt of pathos that anytime the military and security forces will enter their homes to pick them up, and they will never ever return to their homes. Such a situation was never witnessed in our history not even during the times of British Rule.
Every Kashmiri whether a Hindu, Muslim, government servant, student, businessman, a hawker, a taxi driver, children each and every person is scared and panicking out of fear. I don’t believe but I really doubt whether we are on the path of making them scare and fear more?
Due to past 70 years slipups and blunders in system, ignorance in crime and carelessness has destroyed Kashmir and reminded Kashmiris of the treaty of merging Kashmir with India. This treaty was between Maharaja Hari Singh and Government of India which was witnessed by Maharaja’s son Dr Karan Singh. The treaty clearly states, “Article 370 will remain and prevail in Kashmir till the day Kashmiris are not able to take any decision of their future in every sense.”
Innocent Kashmiris forgot about “referendum” in only few years and the stalwart Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was ruling the state successfully. But dear Prime Minister, India’s first Prime minister sent Sheikh Abdullah to jail and since then Kashmir’s trust with India was shaken.
In 1974, memorandum of understanding was signed between Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Abdullah and therefore once again he was selected as Chief Minister of Kashmir, but again all the genuine and required demands were never fulfilled, which again alienated the Kashmiris. Then Sheikh Abdullah’s son stood against the Congress and won with majority. But again Congress took Kashmir as its colony and dissolved the government of Farooq Abdullah which turned alienated Kashmiris more.
Before the day you became the Prime Minster, none of the previous governments assured Kashmiris that Kashmir is a part of India like other states are. Entire generation that was born in 1952 had not seen a single day of democracy and has never experienced what democracy is all about? They have just seen army, paramilitary forces, bullets, guns, dead bodies, mass graveyards, disappeared people, torture and mass rapes. People in Kashmir wonder why they don’t deserve a normal life as the people of other states of India live and enjoy democracy. Will they carry on their lives in fear of guns, bullets, pellets, and day-to-day massacres?
Honorable Prime Minister some people have made you believe that each person in Kashmir is a Pakistani, but honestly we did not find a single man praising Pakistan. They say that whatever Indians promised was never respected. Kashmiris say, “You gave us food but in shoe, you insulted us, you conspired against us so that we could not see ray of democracy.” So for the first time after independence this movement is spread to each and every village of the valley.
On every tree, on every mobile tower, Pakistani flag swirls in Kashmir. We inquired about it and people responded by saying that, “India hates Pakistan. So in order to tease you we swirl Pakistani flags.”
In order to hurt Indian government, when India looses a cricket match with Pakistan Kashmiris celebrate even if India loses a cricket match against New Zealand, Bangladesh, or Sri Lanka Kashmiris do celebrate. They think that they are able to express their protest by this way.
Dearest Modiji, don’t you think that we seriously need to understand their mentality. If people of Kashmir are not with us then what are we going to do with bare land of Kashmir. There will be nothing do business with, no tourism, no love; only our government will be there followed by our army. People of Kashmir want to be self-decisive. The only thing Kashmiris says is, “Just ask us once whether we want to live with India or Pakistan; or want an independent Kashmir, where there is Pakistan ruled Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan.” They ask for referendum for all three regions. And for this they want India to talk to Pakistan and that India is ready to give this right to Kashmiris and therefore Pakistan should also give the same.
The present situation aroused only due to the failure of last four delegations sent to Kashmir from time to time. Their reports were never made public. No action was taken following these reports.
Government sent the likes of K C Pant and Ram Jethmalani as its representative. They spoke to many people, but what they presented before government was never made public. Manmohan Singh ji also sent a team of interlocutors, but that failed too. Even the Kashmir Government passed a proposal; a resolution stating their rights, but again it was ignored and thrown in dustbin.
Kashmiris believe that a proper government does not rule the state, but is controlled by only few bureaucrats sitting in Delhi, intelligent bureau or army. They feel they are just living like slaves who get the food but don’t have the right to live. This is an eye-opener that the money, which gets allotted for Kashmir, never reaches to the people. Panchayats do not receive any money, neither does any other organization.
Modiji you celebrated Diwali amongst Kashmir and promised that since it’s effected by flood, crores of money-package will be given to Kashmir, but it was never received by the common people there.
Isn’t it possible for us that by compiling all the previous reports, we make a group of retired chief justices and put forth all those reports before them and ask them to conclude and find out the points to be considered? Isn’t it possible for us to implement the reports of interlocutors without any putting conditions to it? Since all this never happened in the past, therefore Kashmiris want freedom. And that feeling of aggression and desperation of freedom is so strong that I will not stop myself to repeat that right from local policemen to a businessmen, old people, hawker, student, women, writers, artists, journalist to taxi drivers and even a kid as old as six-years of age talk of freedom without any fear. Surprisingly, I didn’t find a single person saying that he wants to go to Pakistan as they are aware of the bad condition of Pakistan. I say it without any hesitation no one has inspired Kashmiri to throw stones at us. The credit goes to only to our system.
I have a question for you Modiji, Can Pakistan, which is financially a weak country, can give 500 rupee to each stone-pelting boy every day? And do you really want us to believe that Indian system is so helpless or hopeless that it could not catch a single man who distributes these 500-500 rupees to the young boys of Kashmir?
Curfew is still in place there, people are not on roads. Who and how anybody could move freely to distribute 500 rupee? Is Pakistan that strong a country that it can encourage 60 lakh people of Kashmir to raise their voice and fight against India? This is sheer joke and even Kashmiris mock at us.
There is one more area of our system to which Kashmir doesn’t like or rather do not believe – our media.
Kashmiris mention the name of the TV Channels as spreading and exaggerating the communalism in the country. I believe that few of my journalist colleagues are blinded by the ambition of becoming the Member of Parliament (MP) that they have forgotten their actual role of a journalist as they don’t hesitate in playing with the integrity and unity of our country. But Modiji, time and history is blunt and true. It will always write and consider such journalist as ditchers and traitors only. Anybody who finds everything in India around Pakistan or make Pakistan stand responsible for every small or big happening in India is actually an agent of Pakistan. They are poising and injecting in the mentality of Indians including Kashmiris that Pakistan is strong, empowered and an intellectual country.
Do you ever assume that you will be remembered as a ruthless Prime Minister who didn’t bother to stop the massacres, but kept Kashmir intact with India? This will be very painful and bitter history for our coming generations. I wish that history shall praise you Modiji as a wise person and man of words who won the hearts and minds of Kashmiris; who kept and valued all the promises that were promised to them. People of Kashmir don’t want any gold, silver, or diamond but they just want their respect, opportunity to work and live peacefully and in a dignified manner.
Hurriyat is so dominating and powerful in Kashmir that they issue protest calendars which mentions the timings of everything according to them. If they say markets shall open at five or six in the evening, markets open at five or six only. Our core commander says to the government that not to entangle him in political clashes. It is very alarming Modiji that our army’s core commander saying not to entangle him in political clashes because army is for our enemies and not for civilians! Therefore, it compelled army to shoot bullets on the civilians resulting in endless bloodshed.
This feeling of army needs to be understood in a right perspective. It cannot fight its own people. But army does fight our own citizens in Kashmir. The security forces use pellet guns that are not below waist but above the waist and so that thousands of Kashmir get blinded and injured badly. We visited the hospitals, as I was told that over 5000 army men were injured of stones thrown but surprisingly the number of injured army people was far too less then what is dramatically exaggerated by our media network. Kashmiris have stopped believing most of the Indian media channels altoghter.
On the other hand, I have seen Kashmiris dying of pain and helplessness. I have seen people sharing beds with the injured who were unable to get beds in hospitals. I have seen small innocent children lose their vision.
There is one more interesting thing, which I want to share with you. I found every person in Srinagar praising Shri Atal Bihari Vajpyeeji. They remember him saying, “I want to invite Pakistan to talk about the friendship between the two countries.” Vajpayeeji is remembered as a “masiha” who felt for Kashmir’s problems and thought of giving some solution to this conflict. He wanted to solace the tears of people of Kashmir. People of Kashmir expect the same gesture from you, but they don’t believe you. And the reason of not trusting you is that you are visiting every country and taking tours around the world; rather you are the only Prime Minister in the world who has visited so many countries in such a short span of time, but your own 60 lakh people back home in Kashmir are saddened and upset with you. These 60 lakh people are not upset and disappointed because you are from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but the point of disappointed is that you are not interested in them and don’t talk to them.
Furthermore, the kind of love and care a Prime Minister should have among its people is not seen among Kashmiris. Therefore, I would suggest that you yourself go to Kashmir and meet people, apprehend the complications and take actions in favour of Kashmir. Believe you me the people of Kashmir people will love you for this step. But the condition is that you will have to talk to every stakeholder of Kashmir, even to Hurriyat.
Modiji, I was not alone to visit Kashmir. Famous journalist and television political analyst Ashoke Wankhade and senior political journalist and a research scholar namely Prof. Abhay Dubey were along with me. We actually wept by seeing the bleeding condition of Kashmir. All the negativity about Kashmiris is actually spread deliberately and intentionally by a group of people in the rest of the country by labeling them as Pakistani-backed-terrorists and that every Kashmiri is a traitor and is against India.
Labelling Kashmir movement with Pakistan is a sheer made-up story and is not true at all. Every Kashmiri want support from us; they want to live and want to have all opportunities and employment and a normal life with dignity. Kashmiris want to be treated same as people of Bihar, Bengal, Assam, Maharashtra and all other states of the country.
We are declaring Kashmiris as inhuman brutes and terrorists, but we are not letting the Indians know the fact that Kashmir was never a part of India. In 1947, we signed an instrument of accession with Kashmir and it became a part of our country, but Kashmir was never a statutory part of India. Before a plebiscite could have taken place, our constitutional system declared the Article 370 and implemented it.
Isn’t it possible that we do not interfere with Article 370? What is Article 370? It is the article which says that India will only and only interfere in policies related to army, currency and foreign affairs in Kashmir; and in no other matter Indian government will interfere and that Kashmiris will have all the rights to run their government as they wish to. But what have we done in last 70 years. We see too many examples of consistent interferences by the Government of India in the internal matters of Kashmir. I must say that you must call back army to the barracks, as the common Kashmiris should not be treated the way Kashmiris are been treated since ages.
Recently, there was big hue and cry over Kaveri in Karnataka and Bangalore, but not a single man died and police or army did not shot people. Why there is bloodshed in Kashmir only? Why pellets and bullets are showered in Kashmir only? Why the pellets and bullets are shot above the waist in Kashmir only? Why you need to shoot a six-year-old child? Why a six-year-old child and our own local police are against us?
Modiji, you are master in winning the hearts of people, you should apply same magic in Kashmir also. You actually, should take up the immediate responsibility to relieve people of Kashmir who are in immense pain, distress, tears and sufferings. You should free them from the treatment of prejudice and help them from freeing themselves from a fearful and merciless lives they have spend since last 70 years. Assure them that they also have a respectful and dignified life.
I write this letter with a hope that after reading it you will do something to ease out the situation in Kashmir. I also do have a doubt whether this letter will ever reach or not. Therefore, I am publishing it here so that at least someone tells you about this letter.
Author is a senior journalist and can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org